One of the biggest complaints I hear people say about going on vacation is how expensive hotels are. Hotels can really eat up your whole vacation budget, so making sure you get the nicest hotel on a budget, can really be important.
After years of traveling, almost year-round, I have found ways that work for my family and me to save a ton on our hotel rooms. We don’t ever stay in those low-rate, budget hotels, and our hotels are always brand-name hotels. It may look like we have money, but truth-be-told, we are usually paying less for our nice hotel room than people who are staying in rooms at a budget-friendly hotel.
Before you book your next vacation, check out these no-brainer tricks to save on your hotel room.
Best Way to Save on Hotel Rooms
These tricks make it really easy to save money on your next hotel stay. By just implementing one or two of these tricks the next time you book your hotel room, you could save an upwards of $20 or more a night.
Not only will you finally be able to stay at those nice hotels and resorts with these tricks, but you may actually spend less money to do it!
Book Hotel Rooms in Advanced
One of the best ways to save money on your hotel room is by booking your room months, weeks, or days in advance. Whenever you do this, you do not only get the best deals on a hotel room, but you also ease one of the stresses of vacation by already having your room(s) booked.
Booking your room in advance is especially helpful if you are planning to visit an area that gets busy. For example, when my family went to Orlando in February, we booked our hotel stay in advance and paid $70 a night for a Holiday Inn. By the time we arrived in Orlando, that same Holiday Inn was over $150 a night! Booking early saved us a ton of money and we actually ended up paying less for a 4-night stay than we would have paid for a 2-night stay, had we waited on booking our room.
Of course, booking your hotel stay in advance doesn’t always give you the chance to cancel your hotel stay in case something comes up. That’s why I recommend trying to pick a hotel that allows cancellations clear up until the date of your hotel stay. These free cancellations that some hotels offer are lifesavers if the unthinkable comes up.
Sometimes things happen and you can’t always book your hotel in advance. Maybe you’ve decided to go on a last-minute trip. Or, maybe you weren’t sure how far you would drive and didn’t know where you would end up. Either way, there is still one way you can save on your hotel stay for the same night, book late.
While it doesn’t sound practical, sometimes booking a hotel stay late just happens. When my family went on a trip to Gatlinburg, a few years back, we decided to go to Asheville, North Carolina, last minute. We didn’t have a hotel, it was already 6 pm and we thought we would find one in Asheville. We were so wrong! Hotels were well over the $300 a night range and we were not doing it. We had just decided to head further away from Asheville a cheaper hotel that was 2 hours away when I decided to check online, one last time. There it was! A gorgeous Hyatt Hotel in downtown Asheville for just $99! By the time we finally booked the hotel, it was about 8 pm, but we were so happy. We had saved a ton of money on our hotel room and we got a hotel that was better than we ever could have imagined. It was clean, it was fancy, and it was way nicer than any budget hotel that we would have found 2-hours away.
If you ever find yourself in the situation where you need a hotel room, but can’t find one, don’t panic. Hotels will start offering deals later into the evening to book remaining rooms. Most of these deals seem to happen after 8 pm, so if you’re okay waiting a while, you could always take a chance and see what happens.
This strategy is awesome for getting you a good hotel stay, but it is also risky. If you are staying in a busy area, you may end up losing any chance of a hotel room. Some hotels fill-up so quickly they don’t need to offer deals and discounts.
Stay Between Sunday and Thursday
One of the easiest ways to save on your hotel stay is as simple as keeping your hotel bookings between Sunday and Thursday. Hotels purposefully raise their prices on Friday and Saturday evenings because this is when most people travel. Traveling on these two days can almost instantly double the standard room rate, causing you to spend more.
If you have to travel on Friday and Saturday, the best way to save money is by using one of the options above. Booking ahead can help you save a lot during these two nights.
Stay at Hotels During Off-Peak Seasons
My parents were notorious for taking my sisters and me to Disney World every February. We never really wondered why we didn’t wait until the summer, but as I got older, I realized it was because everything, including hotels, is cheaper during off-peak seasons. (FYI, February is no longer off-peak season for Disney World!)
Use Third Party Hotel Booking Sites
One of the biggest and most successful ways you can save money on your hotel room is by using third-party apps for booking your room. Some of my favorite booking sites include:
You can usually check prices on all of these apps by typing a hotel into Google and Google will bring up all the prices.
One savings app that I do NOT recommend using is Expedia. I have had terrible experiences with Expedia’s customer service standing behind the customer when the rooms were not as described.
Although you can usually score a cheaper hotel rate on these apps, be sure to still check with the hotel themselves, in rare instances, they are cheaper. Keep in mind, that when booking with a third-party app, you are no longer booking with the hotel and must go through a third-party to get any refunds.
Ask What Discounts They Offer
Many people who book hotel rooms, don’t realize that hotels actually offer discounts. If you are an AAA Member, certain employees of certain companies, government employee, or a senior citizen; most hotels will offer you a discount.
While it is usually not much, every little bit helps you to save on your hotel stay.
Become a Preferred Guest
If you’ve ever stayed at hotels like Holiday Inn, Marriott, Hilton; most of these hotels offer a loyalty type card. Every time you stay in one of their hotels, you earn points and rewards. After so many stays, you eventually can redeem your rewards for free nights and discounts.
Open a Reward Credit Card
Finally, one of the best ways to save money is by opening a rewards credit card. One of my favorite cards, IHG by Chase actually offers extra rewards points just for opening and using their card.* (be sure to read terms and conditions when you apply. Offer may end at any time.).
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What are some ways you save on your hotel room while on vacation?